Art stronger than politics

Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil

ART neither knows limits nor restrictions or political redlines. In other words, the new US President, Donald Trump attacked Muslims and issued his first executive order banning the citizens of seven mainly Muslim majority countries from entering the United States of America, among them Iran.

Hollywood , which is an essential piece of American symbol in terms of spreading its political and cultural influence across the globe, defied its president on his discordant directives by awarding the Iranian film director and screenwriter Asghar Farhadi an Oscar for the second time for his movie “The Salesman” in the best foreign language film category.

Farhadi did not attend the ceremony to receive his award, in solidarity with Muslims around the world astounded by Trump’s bigotry in associating them with acts of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam, while millions and millions of people from the seven Muslim countries affected by his decision have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.

On Tuesday, the majority, if not all of the Iranian newspapers reacted to the amazing win, despite their differences.

According report published in London and other places, last week Tuesday was Farhadi’s day of distinction through the dominance of his photos on the front pages of most newspapers in Iran, including those of the conservatives.

The acceptance speech of the award winning director criticized the implicit restrictions on cinema censorship in Iran by quoting what was published in Saturday’s papers that “today’s cinema does not recognize borders…” Iranian newspapers agreed on the extensive argument sparked by Trump’s immigration policy and how Farhadi’s decision to boycott the Oscars gave preference to the film “The Salesman” claiming the award.

Farhadi had implicitly criticized the Iranian regime by saying: NASA scientist of Iranian origin Firouz Naderi and Iranian engineer Anousheh Ansari (the first women to travel to space as tourists in 2006) are themselves a message to Trump’s administration, warning them against putting the people of Iran in the same column with the regime or its institutions that cause global panic.

Most importantly, there are over a million Iranian residents in the United States who have assimilated the American lifestyle and attained scientific and cultural accomplishments. (Sharq Al-Awsat Daily, March 6). We take pride in the fact that a child from this region and our religion managed to win a remarkable international award of this nature, sending a strong message that “art does not submit to the restrictions (of extremist conservatives) living among us across the region.

Neither does it yield to limitations set by fanatics against everything Islamic in our region for the sake of affiliations. This clear message from the cultural elite and artist is for President Trump, and we hope to be understood by those who incline toward collective thinking without discrimination, as foolishness is an ailment of the shallow mind; may Allah distance us way from contracting it.

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
ali-albaghli@hotmail.com